News from the City of Carlsbad | March 23, 2023
Two issues important to our community are front and center this week: keeping our community safe and making housing more affordable. I’ll share the latest on both along with these updates in today’s issue:
- Traffic emergency extended, new data shows it’s working
- Making housing more affordable
- New police engagement commission formed
- 78 repair update
- Weekend rail closure
- TGIF concert series up for national award
- Help us honor a community volunteer
- Meet the artists this Saturday
- Talk like a pirate or laugh ‘til you cry: your choice
- Upcoming meetings
Collisions are down AND more work to do
By law, cities that declare a local emergency must revisit the situation at least every 60 days to determine whether it is still needed. On Tuesday, city staff provided the City Council with an update on our emergency response, including the latest data on injury collisions.
The good news is that injury collisions across all modes of travel are down by 19% during the first six months of the emergency compared to the same time last year. Looking at bikes and e-bikes only, injury collisions are down 13%.
We are really pleased with those numbers. We also recognize that six months is a short amount of time when it comes to analyzing data for trends or lasting change.
After hearing from city staff that the special provisions of the emergency proclamation are still needed to expedite projects, procure supplies and coordinate with other agencies, the City Council decided to extend the emergency another 60 days.
Vision Zero goal supported
Another traffic safety topic discussed Tuesday was the adoption of a resolution in support of something called Vision Zero. Vision Zero is a strategy for improving traffic safety that includes making a public commitment to have no deaths or serious injuries by a certain date in the future.
The strategies promoted by Vision Zero are all things the city is already doing, with the exception of adopting a formal resolution supporting the goal. By taking this step, the City Council has set us up to be officially considered part of the Vision Zero network, if that were something they wanted to pursue in the future. About 45 cities nationwide have joined this network.
In the meantime, the resolution serves as a public commitment of support for safer streets, a commitment that is backed up by resources, policies, projects and initiatives aimed at the three Es of traffic safety: education, engineering and enforcement.
Witnesses wanted for traffic fatality
Even though Vision Zero recognizes that getting to zero deaths and serious injuries is an aspirational goal, we were reminded just recently why it is important nonetheless.
You may have heard last week that a woman was found severely injured on Palomar Airport Road near the I-5 on ramp. Tragically, she ultimately succumbed to those injuries in what we are investigating as a hit and run.
The Police Department asked me to help spread the word that they are asking anyone who may have witnessed this incident to contact the investigator Corporal Matt Bowen, 442-339-2282 or email@example.com.
Keeping kids safe on our roads
We had a great turnout for last week’s Parent University workshop on traffic safety. As we head into spring break season for local schools, expect to see more kids out and about and please make safety top priority. Here are the top tips from the traffic safety experts who spoke at the workshop:
Be predictable when you’re biking. This means riding where drivers expect to see you, making sure you’re visible and communicating by signaling turns or making eye contact with other people on the road.
Be vigilant about distractions when you’re driving. Remember, a distraction can be anything that takes your attention from the road, however briefly – a phone, the radio, eating or drinking.
Be confident and visible when you’re walking. When it’s your turn to cross the street, make eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you, then take your turn.
You can watch a recording of the webinar to see what else was shared. It’s less than an hour and really informative. Perhaps make it a family showing? Learn More
City shares progress reports on housing plan … The City of Carlsbad is on track to complete all the steps identified in its state-approved plan to increase access to affordable housing in the city over the next eight years. City staff provided details in an annual report presented to the City Council Tuesday.
The City of Carlsbad worked with the community a few years ago to develop an updated housing plan.
- All California cities are required to create a plan that shows how they will meet projected housing needs.
- The latest update was the first since new state laws and court decisions made voter-imposed limits on the total number of homes in Carlsbad unenforceable.
Some of the changes in state law that are included in the city’s housing plan include:
- Streamlined permitting for accessory dwelling units, which include garage apartments and stand-alone housing on lots with single family homes.
- The city recently sought input from the community on a new permit program for these types of units and developed four sets of building plans that will be made available to residents in the coming months. Each plan features an architectural style that will blend in well with existing neighborhoods.
- Zoning changes that will allow more housing to be built in Carlsbad. Sites were identified based on community input and are now undergoing an environmental analysis.
- Increasing the fees paid by developers who do not include affordable housing as part of their projects. The city uses these fees to create its own affordable housing programs.
The city is also completing a project to develop design standards that will help ensure new apartment and condo projects built in the city meet objective criteria for architectural style and other design features. These objective design standards will help protect the community’s character as more affordable housing projects are built. The state identifies several different levels of affordable housing, based on household income. To achieve the level of affordability required, most of these projects are apartments and condos. LEARN MORE
Residents appointed to serve on new Community-Police Engagement Commission
On Tuesday, the Carlsbad City Council appointed five residents to serve on the city’s new Community-Police Engagement Commission. The goal of the commission is to help strengthen and maintain an excellent relationship between the Carlsbad Police Department and the community.
Twenty-one people applied to serve on the commission. City Council members and the Mayor each recommended two finalists and then voted at Tuesday’s meeting to make their final appointments:
- Patrick Connolly, District 1 (Mayor’s appointment)
- Dan Frazee, District 4
- Terri Novak, District 3
- Taffy Cannon, District 2
- Michael Zepeda, District 1
The commission will meet quarterly, at a minimum, and work collaboratively with the Police Chief to provide recommendations relating to police policies and programs.
Next steps – Commission meetings, scheduled to start this summer, will be livestreamed and open to the public. Sign up to be notified of the commission meeting schedule. LEARN MORE
Update on 78 repairs -Caltrans asked the city to share an update on emergency repair work on SR-78. Crews have been working around the clock to complete repairs as quickly as possible. After the westbound lanes are reopened, the eastbound lanes will be closed while emergency work shifts to the other side of the freeway. For the next couple of weeks, please avoid the area if at all possible. I will share more updates next week.
Weekend rail closure –Another regional agency, the North County Transit District, asked us to help get the word out about a planned weekend rail closure happening Saturday and Sunday.
- All coastal rail line service will be suspended between the Oceanside Transit Center and Santa Fe Depot in San Diego this weekend for routine maintenance and rail infrastructure work.
- The transit district schedules these closures periodically so crews can work safely while making improvements and doing maintenance along the rail line.
- Regular service will resume on Monday, March 27.
- Because the weekend rail work could require speed restrictions afterward, COASTER passengers may experience delays of up to 10-15 minutes on Monday.
You can learn more on the transit district website by clicking on the COASTER tab. LEARN MORE
TGIF concert series up for national award — Speaking of awards, we learned last week that the City of Carlsbad’s TGIF Concerts in the Parks has been nominated as one of the Best Outdoor Concert Series in the USA TODAY 10Best 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards. TGIF is one of only 10 series nominated nationwide for the award. The winner will be decided by popular vote and it would be so cool if we landed at the top!
If you want to help make that happen, you can vote for us once a day on the awards website. Voting closes at 8:59 a.m. on Monday, April 17. Meanwhile, stay tuned for announcements about our upcoming season. LEARN MORE
Know an amazing community volunteer? Do you know someone whose service and energy have made a big difference in Carlsbad? You still have time to submit a nomination for our annual Citizen of the Year award. The award recognizes Carlsbad residents who have gone above and beyond to serve and improve our community. Specific criteria include:
- Long and faithful service to the community.
- Distinguished service in a position of responsibility.
- Enterprise, initiative, diligence and care in performing a specific volunteer assignment.
- Outstanding contribution to the development, growth and welfare of the community.
Details on how to submit a nomination are on the city’s website. LEARN MORE
Meet the artists at Carlsbad Sculpture Garden -On Saturday afternoon, you can stroll through our latest exhibition at the Carlsbad Sculpture Garden and meet the featured artists, while enjoying live music.
- Each of the sculptures celebrates angular lines, shapes and connectedness through geometric forms.
- The Sculpture Garden is located next to Cole Library, just up the street from City Hall.
- It’s housed in the backyard of a 1950s home owned by the city that currently serves as office space.
Pop Up Art: Meet the Artists Saturday, March 25 2-4 p.m. Carlsbad Sculpture Garden, 2955 Elmwood St. LEARN MORE
It looks like we should have some sunshine this weekend, so I hope you’ll join us Saturday night at Alga Norte Aquatic Center for the City of Carlsbad’s annual Pirate Plunge. Enjoy pirate-themed activities like diving for treasure, walking the plank and a ship raider race. As the sun goes down, finish the night off with a screening of Nim’s Island (PG) on the giant outdoor screen.
Pirate Plunge – Saturday, March 25, 5 p.m. Alga Norte Aquatic Center 6565 Alicante Road Tickets: $10; Kids 3 and under, free. Register now and pick up your wristbands in advance today or tomorrow at Alga Norte Aquatic Center.
Food will be available for purchase from Epic Eatz. View menu. Online presale ends at 5 p.m. Friday. You’ll still be able to purchase wristbands at the door if the event is not sold out.
Comedy improv at the Schulman -If taking a plunge like a pirate isn’t your thing, how about a little laughter? The National Comedy Theatre is bringing its highly interactive performance to Carlsbad’s Schulman Auditorium this Saturday. This performance is part of the city’s Front Row Saturday series. Seating is first come, first served, so you may want to arrive a little early.
Front Row Saturday National Comedy Theatre: IMPROV, Saturday, March 25-7:30 p.m. (Doors open at 7 p.m.) Schulman Auditorium, 1775 Dove Lane. LEARN MORE
Get involved: Upcoming meetings
The next City Council meeting will take place Tuesday, April 4, starting at 5 p.m. in the City Council chamber. A link to the full agenda and staff reports will be available on the city’s website by the Friday before the meeting.
There’s just one city meeting taking place next week:
March 30, 2 p.m. – Community Development Block Grant Committee
The Community Development Block Grant Committee typically meets three times a year, in March and April, to review grant proposals and make recommendations to the City Council about how federal grant money should be distributed for community projects that help people with low incomes. You can learn more about the process on the city’s website.
You may have noticed a new look this week. We hope it is now even easier to read through these weekly updates. We also have added a forward to a friend button up top. Please take advantage of that if there’s something you think others would find of interest.
I’ll be back next week with more updates. In the meantime, please download our city app (see link below) so you can easily report things around town that may need attention. Your help makes sure we are keeping all corners of the city up to Carlsbad’s high standards!
Scott Chadwick, Carlsbad City Manager
Download our app today – CarlsbadConnects app is an easy way to report things that need repair or attention around town, like potholes, sidewalk cracks, traffic light outages, graffiti and code enforcement issues. Carlsbad Connects
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